I thought I didn’t have anything else to say about my petticoat for my robe de cour, but then I started getting OCD and thought some of you might as well!
Updated to add: never mind. I found that the BEST and easiest way to make things line up nicely is just to do the pleating OFF of the dress form/panier. Then you don’t have to do anything complicated, you can just pleat things up nicely and sew across the top edge. Duh.
I had my petticoat put together, but one thing was bugging me: the box pleats at each side weren’t perfectly aligned. Now, most of that doesn’t show (and won’t show at all on an under-petticoat! but I thought using this would be a good test run for the real thing)… but the point from where the pleats fan out, right at end of the seam along the top of the panier, does. I kept fiddling with the pleats, both on and off the dress form, trying to get them to line up and fall from that one particular point, and kept failing. So I decided to re-engineer this process slightly. Yes, the side seam pleats of my petticoat look crappy, I was just experimenting so I didn’t bothering to fix those. None of this will show!
Again, I strongly recommend Katherine’s tutorial. My tweak is just to the box-pleat-at-the-end part.
Go ahead and follow her instructions for making the waistband and pleating along the top edge of the panier. Do note that this will probably be on an angled line, unless your panier sticks out completely perpendicular from your waist. Make the pleats along this line:
Now, take the petticoat OFF your dress form and sew those pleats into place. If you’re gathering up the waistband, you can sew the two together, which is what I have going on here. If you’re going to pleat up the petticoat to a waistband, you’ll want ties at both sides, and then you’ll leave the front and back separate, but go ahead and stitch those pleats into place.
Trim away the excess above the seam you just stitched, leaving at least a .5″ seam allowance.
Then, cut off the remaining fabric at a right angle (ie along the grain line), .5″ (or whatever seam allowance you’re using) above the point where the seam ends.
Now, put this whole sucker back on your dress form & panier, right side out this time. You’ll have a bunch of extra fabric hanging off the side, figure out the exact halfway mark.
Flip the top .5″ (or whatever SA) down inside, on both sides.
Figure out about how many pleats you’re doing at the ends (I did 3), and so about how much fabric will go into each pleat. Keeping an eye on the point where your stitching ended, make the first pleat. Work from the stitched end of the fabric towards that halfway mark.
Pin this pleat into place, using a vertical pin right where your stitching ended.
Make the next pleat the same way. Use the same pin to pin both pleats right where your side stitching ended.
Make the third pleat the same way, making sure that your halfway mark ends up right at the inside edge of this stack of pleats.
Now, carefully pull out your pin and use a threaded needle to overcast that same point. You are sewing all of these stacked pleats into place at the inside point. I suggest leaving a tail, taking about 6 overcast stitches, and then leaving another tail — tie the two tails together a few times and leave the ends hanging.
Now, take the first pleat you made and tuck it inside out.
Now do this with the second pleat you made, then the third. Confused? Watch the video below, which shows this process for the other side (ie the order is reversed).
Now, repeat the whole process on the other side:
Again, tuck these pleats inside themselves. This time, start with the pleat closest to your halfway mark, then the middle, then the one closest to your side seam. Confused? Here’s a quick video:
Flip the side of the petticoat up so you can get to those pleats:
Pin the outermost edge of each side of the pleat stacks, then do the same overcast stitch at this point:
Make sure any threads at the center point are pulled through to the inside. If you still have a tiny hole, you can hand stitch that closed. Flip the petticoat back to right side out.
Arrange the stacked pleats so that one lays towards the front, one towards the back. Et voila, your stacked pleats are all falling from the same point!